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Hamas Arms: Weapons Supplied by Iran, China, Russia, and North Korea | World News – Times of India

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Jerusalem: Iranian sniper rifles. AK-47 assault rifles from China and Russia. North Korean- and Bulgarian-built rocket-propelled grenades. Anti-tank rockets secretly cobbled together in Gaza.
An AP analysis of more than 150 videos and photos taken in the three months of combat since Hamas launched its Oct 7 surprise attack on Israel shows the militant group has amassed a diverse patchwork arsenal of weapons from around the world – much of it smuggled past a 17-year blockade that was aimed at stopping just such a military buildup. Those weapons have proved deadly during weeks of intense urban warfare in Gaza. Hamas propaganda videos posted over the past few weeks appear to show the shootings of Israeli soldiers recorded through the scopes of sniper rifles.
“We are searching everywhere for weapons, for political support, for money,” Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad recently said in an interview.
Experts who reviewed the images for AP were able to identify distinguishing features and markings that show where many of the weapons wielded by Hamas fighters were manufactured. But such an analysis does not provide evidence of whether they were provided by the governments of those countries or purchased in a thriving West Asia black market.
What is clear, however, is that many of the images show Hamas militants toting weapons that appear to be relatively new, evidence the group has found ways of getting arms past the air-and-sea blockade of the Gaza Strip – possibly by boat, through tunnels or concealed in shipments of goods.
“The majority of their arms are of Russian, Chinese or Iranian origin, but North Korean weapons and those produced in former Warsaw Pact countries are also present in the arsenal,” said N R Jenzen-Jones, an expert in military arms who is director of the Australian-based Armament Research Services.
Among the most distinctive is the oversized AM-50 Sayyad, an Iranian-made a sniper rifle that fires a .50-caliber round powerful enough to punch through up to an inch of steel. Hamas fighters have also been seen carrying an array of Soviet-era weapons that have been copied and manufactured in Iran and China. They include variants of the Russian-designed 9M32 Strela, a portable heat-seeking anti-aircraft missile system. Jenzen-Jones said a grip stock on one of the missile launchers a fighter was seen holding is distinctive to a variant manufactured in China and used by the Iranian military and its allies, including Hezbollah. Weapons recovered from Hamas fighters by the Israel Defence Forces include Italian-designed TC/6 anti-tank mines. However, Sean Moorhouse, a former British army officer and explosive ordinance disposal expert, said it too had been copied by Iran’s arms industry.
The IDF and US officials have long accused Iran of supplying money, training, arms to Hamas. Iranian representatives at the UN did not respond to emails from AP on the matter.ap





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